Advisory Board

The Partnership for the Future of Medicare includes an Advisory Board comprised of five bi-partisan, highly regarded health policy and health economics experts who previously served in both the Legislative and Executive branches of government. Their perspectives differ but they have all coalesced around the need to reform the current state of Medicare and propose innovative solutions to ensure its long-term fiscal sustainability.

  • DOUG HOLTZ-EAKIN, Ph.D., Co-Chair

    Douglas Holtz-Eakin is the president of the American Action Forum and most recently was a commissioner on the congressionally chartered Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. During 2001-2002, he was the chief economist of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers (where he had also served during 1989-1990 as a senior staff economist). At CEA he helped to formulate policies addressing the 2000-2001 recession and the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. From 2003-2005 he was the 6th director of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, which provides budgetary and policy analysis to the U.S. Congress. During his tenure, CBO assisted Congress as they addressed numerous policies -- notably the 2003 tax cuts (JGTRRA), the Medicare prescription drug bill (MMA) and Social Security reform. During 2007 and 2008 he was director of Domestic and Economic Policy for the John McCain presidential campaign. Following the 2008 election Dr. Holtz-Eakin was the president of DHE Consulting, an economic and policy consulting firm providing insight and research to a broad cross-section of clients.

    Dr. Holtz-Eakin has held positions in several Washington-based think tanks. He was senior fellow at the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics (2007-2008), and the director of the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies and the Paul A. Volcker Chair in International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations (2006). He has also been a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Heritage Foundation and American Family Business Foundation.

    Dr. Holtz-Eakin began his career at Columbia University in 1985 and moved to Syracuse University from 1990 to 2001. At Syracuse, he became trustee professor of economics at the Maxwell School, chairman of the Department of Economics and associate director of the Center for Policy Research.

    Dr. Holtz-Eakin serves on the Boards of the Tax Foundation, National Economists Club and the Research Advisory Board of the Center for Economic Development.

  • KEN THORPE, Ph.D., Co-Chair

    Dr. Kenneth Thorpe is the Robert W. Woodruff professor and chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management at Emory University. He is a former professor of health policy and administration at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Harvard, Columbia and Tulane Universities; and former deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 1993 to 1995.

    Dr. Thorpe, an economist, is recognized as one of the nation’s foremost scholars of health care policy and health reform, and is a frequent speaker at national conferences and in the media. During his career, he held a variety of positions in academia and the public sector, and served as an adviser to influential lawmakers, leading presidential candidates, and some of the largest business, labor and nonprofit groups in the nation.

    He brings his extensive knowledge of health care and politics to the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease – a coalition representing more than 100 of the nation’s most influential health care stakeholders – where, as executive director, he leads an effort to increase awareness of the growing crisis of chronic illness in the United States and develops solutions to address it.

    Dr. Thorpe authored and co-authored more than 85 articles, book chapters and books about the industry. He serves as a reviewer for several health care journals and has appeared on ABC's "Nightline" with Ted Koppel and "World News Tonight" with Peter Jennings, NBC's "Nightly News" with Tom Brokaw, PBS's "NewsHour" with Jim Lehrer, CNN and CNBC.


    Lanhee J. Chen, Ph.D. is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and teaches in the Public Policy Program at Stanford University. His current research focuses on campaigns and elections, health policy, economic policy, and California policy and politics. Chen, a veteran of several high-profile political campaigns, has also served in government, the private sector, and academia.

    Before coming to Hoover, Chen was the policy director for the Romney-Ryan presidential campaign, as well as Romney’s chief policy adviser, a senior strategist on the campaign, and the person responsible for developing the campaign’s domestic and foreign policy. He advised Governor Romney on every major public policy challenge facing the United States and worked with a variety of stakeholders, including the congressional leadership, industry and business interests, and policy experts to shape the campaign’s issues agenda. In 2012, he was named one of POLITICO’s “50 Politicos to Watch.”

    Chen also served as the deputy campaign manager and policy director of Steve Poizner’s 2010 California gubernatorial campaign, the domestic policy director of Governor Romney’s first presidential bid in 2008, and a health policy adviser to the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign in 2004.

    Chen served in the Bush administration as a senior official at the US Department of Health and Human Services. His private-sector experience includes time as an associate attorney with the international law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, where he practiced business litigation. Additionally, Chen was the Winnie Neubauer Visiting Fellow in Health Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation and worked as a health policy advocate for a major business group in Washington, DC.

    Chen is an eight-time winner of Harvard University’s Certificate of Distinction in Teaching, and his scholarship has appeared or been cited in several of the nation’s top political science journals.

    He earned his PhD and AM in political science from Harvard University, his JD cum laude from Harvard Law School, and his AB magna cum laude in government from Harvard College. He is a member of the State Bar of California. A native of Rowland Heights, California, he currently lives in the Bay Area with his wife, Cynthia, and his son, Tobin.


    Kavita Patel is a health policy specialist and board-certified physician whose expertise centers on issues such as delivery system reform, access, coverage and quality.

    Dr. Patel is a fellow and managing director of delivery system reform and clinical transformation at the Brooking Institution’s Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform.

    She previously served as director of policy for the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, where she applied her clinical experience to shaping U.S. health policy and provided clinical teams, medical providers and policymakers with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively respond to the challenges of the U.S. health care system.

    Prior to her role with the Obama administration, Dr. Patel was deputy staff director for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee under the leadership of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

    More recently, Dr. Patel was director of the health policy program at New America Foundation, a nonprofit and nonpartisan public policy institute.

    Dr. Patel was a clinical instructor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) David Geffen School of Medicine and an associate scientist at the RAND Corporation. She completed a fellowship in the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at UCLA, where she also received a master’s degree in public health with a concentration on health economics. She received her medical training at the University of Texas Health Science Center and Oregon Health and Sciences University, where she served as a chief resident in internal medicine.


    Lambert van der Walde is president of van der Walde & Co., a health care finance and policy advisory firm. He advises health care industry leaders and entrepreneurs, as well as public and private investors and lenders, as they design strategies to deploy capital and other resources across all sectors of health care.

    Mr. van der Walde previously served as the capital markets advisor to the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) during both the Bush and Obama administrations. He was the CMS point of contact for the investor community and the agency’s liaison between policy-makers, investors, and the health care industry. He directed the agency’s capital markets efforts and advised CMS administrators as well as U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, White House, and congressional officials of expected and actual market consequences of new and proposed regulatory and legislative actions. He also briefed these colleagues on health care industry market performance, access to capital, and financial outlook.

    Prior to serving the Bush and Obama administrations, Mr. van der Walde was an investment banker with Salomon Brothers, where he focused on equity and debt underwriting as well as merger and acquisition advisory services. He has also worked in venture capital financing and as a fixed income portfolio analyst.

    Mr. van der Walde holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington and a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.